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Oh what a night

July 5th, 2010

TWEBT 5 happened last night and Red Nose Wine were the supplier.
I didn’t know how it would go and if people would like the wine. I completely forgot that the top of the cork said 2007, and the year is one of the questions. Whoops! For the rules of TWEBT, see Brian Clayton’s blog.


I asked everyone to open it up a little early, so at 8pm I did the same. However, I knew the wine, so felt it only polite to start ahead of the group. ( They had to wait until 9pm). The wine is question was a Cotes du Rhone from Nicholas Boiron, maker of the award winning Chateauneuf du Pape wines. It was also from great 2007 vintage so it had a lot of body and very pure fruit. In fact, when deciding on which wine to use for #TWEBT, it was these recent comments from Robert Parker, that made up my indecisive mind – “last call…2007 Cotes du Rhone’s among the best values I have ever tasted but disappearing, and replaced by less successful 2008s and 2009s”.

Gary Gubbins and Nicholas Boiron C de Pape 2009

Gary Gubbins and Nicholas Boiron C de Pape 2009

I really wanted to put in a Loire Cabernet Franc, or maybe a Chenin Blanc, but felt it important to give the crowd something they might be familiar with and enjoy across the board. There were some very nice comments about the wine and I think for the most part everyone enjoyed it. There was a very interesting Whiskey tasting going on it parallel. Most people got old world, and higher end of alcohol spectrum but it took a long time to get the 3rd grape variety, Cinsault. To be fair, its only 5% of the mix. The newly anointed @grapes_of_sloth, Paul Kiernan was very aggressive with his guesses. He tweeted with the air of a man with his WSET diploma in the bag. I got so carried away with it all, I even offered a free bottle of wine to the person who guessed the right grapes in the right order of magnitude. A bottle will soon be on its way to @JoannaSchaff – Congratulations.

Anyway, all in all a great night and I was delighted with the response to the wine. While not to most adventurous selection, I think it goes to show that if you look for it, there really are top quality wines from the south of France at a great price. With the sale on, this wine is a steal at €13.05 ( 10% off ). Other similar wines are on sale with 15% and 20% off.

Big thanks to Brian and Kevin for inviting me… we all await Twebt 6.

The SALE goes on

July 2nd, 2010

The weather remains, and the poor old barbecue is wrecked. It never knew work like this before.



The sale has been very popular and the 20% and 15% wine have really been well taken up. If I am to pick my own stars among that batch, I would say

The Pont de Brion Graves - down from €15 to €12 and from the mythical 2005 Bordeaux vintage.

The Chateau Margui Blanc – down from €18.50 to €14.80 and in many a Michelin Star restaurant the world over.

The Michel Bailley Pouilly Fume – down from €19 to €15.30 – we had this last weekend and it drinking perfectly. High end Sauvignon from the Loire.

In Red, the some of the standouts include :

Twiggy - the famous Montepuliciano d’Abruzzo wine withe a piece of vine on the bottle – down from €17 to €14.45

The Cantina di Montalcino Sangiovese – Chianti without the price – down from €14.50 to €12.33

The famous New Zealand Muddy Water Pinot Noir- down from €28 to €23.80

This is all about while stocks last, so now is as good a time as any to stock up. Beat the recession pricing.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget Twitter Blind Tasting ( #twebt) on Sunday night at 9.
You can still buy your mystery bottle for €14.


Article – The Hills are alive, with Austrian Wine

June 26th, 2010

Bye Bye Badman… Bye Bye

There is no getting away from it; it’s a poor World Cup. The only consolidation is that France are in turmoil and on the way home. I am still not over Thierry Henry and his magic hand. He is of course the reason why I am not bringing in a range of wines from South Africa. Could there be a better time to convince the South African Wine board that you want to make their wines number 1 in Ireland but need to do some serious reconnaissance. A quick look at my calendar and it seems that the months of June and July 2010 are free Mr. Trade Ambassador. The plan was foolproof, until Thierry did his worst. So, since Ireland is not there, I will snub all other wine producing countries that are there. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Australia and all the rest – I reject your wines, for at least one article.


Brothers in Arms – Grüner Veltliner

Where shall I aim my trusty pen, or even laptop I hear you ask? As coincidence ( or strategic cunning ) would have it, I am listening to the sound of music, yodelling from the mountain tops and crashing at high speed on ill fitting skis ( in my mind ). Yes, I am in Austria, for they also did not make it to the World Cup. The cunning part is that I have been working on a deal with another importer to get some of Austria’s finest wine, at an affordable price. A couple of weeks ago the deal was done and these last few days saw the introduction of a very price conscious Grüner Veltliner into Red Nose Wine on a special deal. It normally prices at about the 17 euro mark but by buying a decent amount of it, we got a deal and now have it on the shelf for 13.50 euros. I think that the wine drinking public of Tipperary agree, because everyone who tasted it bought it.

So, Thierry, from the Hills of Austria, this is for you …

This anti World Cup gesture is our silent protest against Mr. Henry and the corridors of power in UEFA and FIFA. At this stage I think I may be obsessing a little bit, but I really had the whole trip planned out. There are a bunch of winemakers expecting me this week in South Africa, and all they will get are a bunch of Frenchmen who would dismiss their wines out of hand. I used to love going to public wine tastings in Paris. Everyone is an expert and the local barber, postman or electrician would analyse some poor winemaker’s wine to an inch of its life. They would make recommendations from everything to the length of time in oak, cork taint to the exact picking dates. The same wine could easily get five completely different opinions. Good luck with that Mr. South African winemaker.

Anyway, I do believe I was supposed to be talking about anything but France or their wine. So, what is Grüner Veltliner? It is a grape variety that finds its home in Austria. I have heard it described as a wine that has the nose of Riesling, the refreshing taste of Sauvignon Blanc and the fruits (apples and peach) and lusciousness of a Pinot Grigio. That’s not far away for the wine we have on offer, but I have tasted other versions that I couldn’t agree with that as a description. It really can go from a refreshing style wine to a full bodied age worthy wine. Austrian wine accounts for 1% of the world’s production and has 120,000 acres, which is comparable to half of Bordeaux or double New Zealand. The family who make the Laurenz V wine (the one I brought into the shop recently) have been in the wine business since 1124, so this is what you might call “Old School”. It lies on the same latitude as Burgundy, and that is no small calling card. Why isn’t Austrian wine more popular? There was a delicate incident, and I am being very generous with that description, a number of years back. Without getting into the full details, the words Austrian wine and antifreeze were synonymise. They still struggle with the stigma, but the strict quality control regulations put in place after the scandal makes them arguably the cleanest wines in the world now. I was truly shocked at the popularity of the wine in its first two days, so I am glad to find I am not alone in my admiration for this most underrated country and grape variety.

TWEBT – A Twitter thing

A very interesting event is happening next Sunday, July 4th. It is a Twitter Blind Wine Tasting. Basically a mystery bottle is wrapped and made available for purchase. Red Nose Wine have the honour of being the supplier for the 5th national tasting. At 9pm on July 4th, everyone (from all over Ireland) will simultaneously open their bottle and post their comments on Twitter to be seen and shared with all other people participating in the blind tasting. 5 questions are asked by the organiser and after random guesses; they are answered by the supplier. Who will come out on top? Tune into Twitter and follow #TWEBT to find out.

Red Nose Wine are making room for the news wines we have found, and are having a massive sale starting this week. There will be very serious wines and not so serious wines to be had, at clearance prices.

Don’t forget to log onto the blog at or follow the ranting on Twitter –

For anyone who would like more information and can’t make it into the shop, please feel free to contact me at

“Life is much too short to drink bad wine”

Red Nose Wine Article - Nationalist June 24 2010

TWEBT – A Twitter Blind Tasting

June 16th, 2010

TWEBT will now happen on Sunday JULY 4th – blame the World Cup for suddenly getting interesting

A while back, I wrote an article / blog in real-time ( I was the Kiefer Sutherland of the wine world for about 90 minutes ) during a blind tasting of a wine. What made this blind tasting different was that while I was alone at my kitchen table tasting the wine, in a virtual capacity, there were many more people co-tasting with me. Through the medium of Twitter we all tasted the mystery wine and made our guesses about it being new world or old world, vintage, grape variety, country and region. All the while the supplier of the wine laughed at our guesses from the comfort of their full view of the label.

#TWEBT - Twitter Blind Tasting Bottle

#TWEBT - Twitter Blind Tasting Bottle

The tables are turned for now I am the supplier and I know the wine. Is it Red, White, Rose or Bubbly?
I can’t tell you as the inventors of the TWEBT, Mr. Brian Clayton and Mr. Kevin Crowley would be most upset. It’s all happening on Sunday July 4th, so you can call into Red Nose Wine in Clonmel to collect your bottle or order online here. For full OFFICIAL rules please got to Brian’s blog.

Let the guessing commence.